German Tank Losses In Normandy

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Post by Darrin » 03 May 2002 16:28

Qvist wrote:Clearing up some old dues:

Infantry divisons in the west:

Of 36 such in the OB West area on 1 June listed by Zetterling on page 29, 22 (47, 48, 49, 243, 244, 245, 265, 266, 319, 326, 338, 343, 344, 346, 347, 348, 708, 709, 711, 712, 716, 719) are classed as static in Nafziger. I have not then counted the 7 reserve divisions, who were also static. In other words about 2/3 or about 3/4 of the total, depending on whether or not you count the reserve divisions. There were also 4 LW field divisions, all of whom were static, and two parachute divisions, neither of whom were.

Mobility of US Infantry divisions:

Richard Overy, "Why the allies won", page 224:

" Instead of fighting with two armies, one formed of the heavily armoured tank division, one based on infantry, the two were fused together to create, in effect, one vast Panzer army with the resources more evenly spread..... The armoured divisions had a larger complement of tanks....but were otherwise indistinguishable from the regular army divisions, all which were allocated a batallion of tanks and SP artillery AND WERE FULLY MOTORISED" (my capitalisation).

Further:

"The American decision to produce a completely mechanised and motorised army...."

Expressed somewhat more precisely by John Desch of Command Magazine in his comparative essay on the American and German armies in "Hitler's Army. the evolution and structure of German forces 1933-1945", page 90:

"With an attached tank batallion and enough wheeled vehicles to motorise all of its infantry, and at least four batallions of supremely efficient field artillery....they were, for all practical purposes, powerful "panzer grenadier" divisions".

cheers



I just checked one of your div listed in zetterlings book and he says the 243 was upgraded just before normandy. I will accept what your source says about how many were static but my transport point still holds. The 7th army in normandy had OVER 41,000 horses and this number is large by any standard.

The US inf divs (cw?) did not normally have as much trucks as a ger PDG. They had a lot more trucks then a ger inf div of any year mainly because they had no horses. But the men of the div were intented to walk to and into combat it was the heavy weapons and supplies that were pulled in the trucks. The american trucks were conc at higher levels corps/armies etc and were sometimes attached to divs to provide extra short term mobility. The american inf being equvalent to PGD is just another myth.

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Post by Darrin » 03 May 2002 16:42

A reply from Rich Anderson basically saying theat there were definatly some differces between the total ger str definitions and the US numbers zetterling uses.

http://www.onwar.com/ubb/Forum1/HTML/001567.html

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Ist-Stärke versus Soll-Stärke

Post by Piet Duits » 04 May 2002 13:56

Hi

Although I wasn't interested in responding at all, now I will do so.
The number of personnel Timo mentioned are for the Panzeraufklärungsabteilung of the SOLL-Panzerdivision 44 (3.8.44), provided by me.

I will repeat in short what I told to Timo on the phone:
Totally the 1944 Pz.Aufkl.Abt. (gp.) (fG) should've had 24 Officers, 3 Beamte, 221 Unteroffiziere and 696 Mannschaften.
In actual combat (mounted!), the Versorgungskompanie was not rated as combattroops, as were the Hauptfeldwebel, the Gerätunteroffizier, the Waffenunteroffizier and their Kraftwagenfahrer of the Kompanien. They stayed mostly at the vorgeschobener Versorgungsstaffel, or in combat the Hauptfeldwebel could have acted as Platooncommander. Also, elements of the Stab und Stabskompanie were not seen as combat troops, such as the Funker of the important radiovehicles.

During dismounted combat the amount of fighting men was even lowered, as the drivers of the vehicles, the crews of the Panzerspähwagens and the crews of the schw. Kanonenzug/Gruppen were held behind the lines as reserve as well. So the difference between Verpflegungsstärke and Kampfstärke is significant.

This is the case in a freie Gliederung unit. In the normal Gliederung, each unit had it's own supply train.

Back to Niklas Zetterling's book. Although the book is excellent, it largely only describes the larger fighting troops, and some batallion-sized units. No where are the supporting troops mentioned, and there were many of them around in Normandy. Both belonging to the 7. Armee, as well as to the Heeresgruppe D/ OB-West. The fuel distribution was a serious problem, as the depots were being destroyed by airraids, or overrun by the advancing enemy (proof of that are on microfilm!).
So was the ammo distribution. For every fighting men there were 3 to 4 supply personnel, varying from Munitionsträger to Landesschütze guarding the depots. All these men were part of the Verpflegungsstärke (proof on microfilm).

Instead of reading Zetterling's book as a bible, it may be wise to look for some of the references he used. I happen to have a large part of his references, including other numbers. If you do so, and not only look for proof in numbers, you will learn a lot more about it.

Piet

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Post by Timo » 04 May 2002 14:24

Excellent reply Piet :) Glad you decided to give some further detail yourself.

Regarding his question on Feldgrau, I still wonder how Darrin supports his assumption that the Germans mainly relied on non-militairy manpower for their supplies. I never found a single piece of evidence that this was the case.

Cheers,
Timo

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Post by Piet Duits » 04 May 2002 14:40

Timo wrote:I never found a single piece of evidence that this was the case


In fact, I did. Not on a very large scale, but there were transportation units in the rear area of the HGr. D/OB-West which were manned by volunteers; these french etc. drivers had to take their own trucks to transport things. What kind of products I don't know, but I assume it was not regarded as military secrets :)
Not very surprising, as the Kommandanturen in France, Belgium and the Netherlands had to be supplied as well, as were the training facilities. Why use soldiers for such tasks, as there are enough locals around!
At the frontlines (7. Armee, 15. Armee) this was another case. Their the "volunteers" had to be paid to do their "services", and were used to build defencepositions.

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Post by Timo » 04 May 2002 15:03

Hallo Piet,

Exactly. But that why I was referring to his assumption that the Germans mainly relied on non-militairy manpower for their supplies.

Darrin wrote:
The ger probably relied to a large extent on non whermact, non soilder formations


I can't see on what this large extent was based.

Cheers,
Timo

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Post by Qvist » 05 May 2002 22:19

Piet:

The difference between Verpflegungsstärke and Kampfstärke is not in question. The point is rather the difference between Verpflegungsstärke and Iststärke.

"Back to Niklas Zetterling's book. Although the book is excellent, it largely only describes the larger fighting troops, and some batallion-sized units. No where are the supporting troops mentioned, and there were many of them around in Normandy. "

This is of course true as far as the unit histories are concerned. The point in question here, however, is the overall force ratio he provides, specifically for operation Cobra. It is clear that this is not derived only from the strength of divisons and other combat units, but takes account of a higher support echelon factor extrapolated from the overall distribution of forces in the West in the beginning of June. Quite possibly this is not an accurate method, but I do not think anyone has so far been able to offer a reasonably convincing argument for this. What we have so far is a supposed discrepancy between Iststärke and Verpflegungsstärke, and some insecurity concerning what Zetterlings original number for total strength in the west includes. The relevance of the first is IMO highly debatable, the second is a bit of a crux.

cheers
Last edited by Qvist on 06 May 2002 09:27, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by Qvist » 06 May 2002 09:24

"In my judgment ACTUAL ger manpower def is not what zetteling thinks it is and is not the correct str report to use in his comparisons. He is the expert on the ger army in normandy and elsewher but I can disagree with what he says.

It is interesting that such a persice administrative definition that zeterling provides is fuzzy. His definition seems just to include actual manpower within units that contribute directly to combat. It does not specifically say and all rear services. Plus while I can read zetterlings definition he provides NO SORCES for his definitions of ger manpower strs. Nor due you refer to any but his definations.

Do you have any other sources for your percisly defined definitions? "

Let me put it this way. I have never seen anyone, anywhere, on this forum or elsewhere, including Rich Anderson, or any book, define Iststärke as anything else than "all soldiers who are part of the unit". You have the exotic theory that Iststärke actually doesn't include all soldiers who are part of a unit, but only those who "contribute directly to combat", and offer no support for this novel idea whatsoever beyond your own "belief". You are the one who needs sources.

"you actually manged to get most of zetterlings points correct this time."

I confine myself to note that so far I have not had to revise my understanding of any of Zetterlings points. If there is a change between my last post and my earlier ones, it lies in your comprehension of same points.

" Except for your lack of understanding of ger str definitons in summarry point one. Maybe you should go refer to the other def and how they do differ from Iststrake even if you subtarct rear/div services."

Yes, of course they do. Which makes what point exactly?

"I will accept what your source says about how many were static but my transport point still holds. The 7th army in normandy had OVER 41,000 horses and this number is large by any standard. "

This is a contradiction in terms. A division cannot be static and contain enough horse transport resources to be mobile at the same time. And no number is large by any standard. I refer you also to the various unit histories, which makes it clear that many formations sent just a Kampfgruppe to Normandy because they lacked the transportation assets to move the whole formation.

"The US inf divs (cw?) did not normally have as much trucks as a ger PDG. They had a lot more trucks then a ger inf div of any year mainly because they had no horses. But the men of the div were intented to walk to and into combat it was the heavy weapons and supplies that were pulled in the trucks. "

And how were the grenadiers of a Panzergrenadier division intended to move into combat? In trucks? And did the US infantry divisions walk across France in the autumn of 44?

"The american trucks were conc at higher levels corps/armies etc and were sometimes attached to divs to provide extra short term mobility. The american inf being equvalent to PGD is just another myth."

No, they were routinely attached to divisions to provide required mobility, and there were enough such resources to ensure full motorised mobility. The German army effectively consisted of a motorised and a non-motorised part, consequently the transport of motorised formations was organic. The US army on the other hand was constructed as a wholly motorised force, and they chose an organisational solution whereby some transportation assets was kept at the non-organic level. The system aimed at, and was capable of, providing fully motorised transport for all
forces. US infantry divs were not expected to rely on foot power for movement, except in the combat zone (just like German grenadiers of Pz Gren divisions), and did not have to. Do you know of a single example where a US infantry division moved its infantry elements by foot outside the combat zone? Or will you possibly expect me to come up with a source confirming that this never happened before you quit believing the theoretically conceivable over the bloody obvious?

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Post by Qvist » 06 May 2002 11:40

" A reply from Rich Anderson basically saying theat there were definatly some differces between the total ger str definitions and the US numbers zetterling uses. "

Well, not many surprises in what rich writes really. The basic point IMO is this:

""Darrin, the German strength that Niklas uses are usually Istsstaerke, although sometimes he references Tagesstaerke or Verpflegungsstaerke, all of which can be very different things. "

True enough as far as the narrative in general is concerned, although this does not much affect the strength ratio issue. This issue turns up at two points - firstly, in the chapter dealing with German strength on 1 June, secondly, in the ratio calculation for Cobra. He may be criticised for not making it clear exactly which term he relies on in the second case - the first, as Rich writes, includes ALL ground troops, with the stated exceptions, under OB West. Note furthermore that these numbers are not discussed as strength, but just used to derive a relative ratio between the manpower emplyed in divisions, GHQ combat units and higher echelon support and supply respectively. IMO, it can be assumed that his number for Cobra relies on Iststärke, because Tagesstärke was a term that was unfortunately rarely utilised in German reports, and it seems very unlikely that sufficient information in this category was present to allow a conclusion on strength on this basis. Actually - the number given, even if likely based on Iststärke, is a modified one that would in practice be closer to Tagesstärke, because he factors in casualties minus replacements - remember that Iststärke includes short-term sick and wounded. He then of course fails to take account for any troops with minor injuries who had by then returned to duty. However, the possible variations here seem quite unlikely to be of magnitude to significantly affect the issue, which is the main point for a sort of comparison which can rarely if ever be made with absolute accuracy.

and this:

"Assigned strength in US parlance is probably close to the german definition of Ist, but there are variations. "

The question then is how significant these variations are. Of the ones he mentioned, this struck me as the most interesting:

"I do not know for sure whether or not Niklas count of Commonwealth strength includes the RAF Tactical Air Forces on the continent, although I suspect it does."

If it does, then this is certainly something that should be taken into account for an accurate force ratio.

Then there is the Verpflegungsstärke-issue, which certainly IS of a magnitude that would be significant in this regard. This brings up the question "what is relevant to include in a force comparison"? I believe three questions are of importance in this respect:

1. Equivalence - i.e. are the same type of elements included on both sides?

2. Relevance - i.e. did this personnel category support the fighting in Normandy in a way that makes it menaingful to include?

3. Impact - i.e. would inclusion significantly affect strength ratios, and in which direction?

note: Zetterling makes it clear that his allied numbers refer to troops BROUGHT TO THE CONTINENT. Unless we want to assume that he is telling a barefaced lie or has fatally misunderstood his sources, this must underlay the discussion.

Another key point IMO is this: For the Germans, the zone of operations were the the front and immediate hinterland in Normandy. Beyond this, there were the whole of occupied France and Benelux, also containing large numbers of different personnel with various tasks. The allies at this time controlled so little territory on the continent that there is no hinterland to speak of on the continent, and in practice, a large part of the organisation supporting the combat efforts in Normandy was still based in England. Thus, the more inclusive the definitions of strength and the more you include personnel types more faintly connected with the efforts in the operational zone, the less relevant the number of allied soldiers on the continent becomes - the kind of services you find in Eastern and Central France for the Germans, you find in England for the allies.

To go through some of the categories:

1. Air Force air- and ground crew. Not included in German strength. If Rich's suspicion is right, possibly partially included in allied strength. If this is so, it would improve accuracy to take these out of the allied total. Considering that only a relatively small portion of allied air forces were operating from France at this time, it is unlikely to be of great significance. If the LW organisation would be included, we would also need to include the allied air forces supporting the fighting in France but based in England, which would in all likelihood significantly increase the force ratio in the allied favour.

2. Navy personnel. Not assumed included on either side AFAICS. You could make a stronger argument for including it on the allied side than the German, as Naval forces were providing direct fire support to ground troops and naval forces constituted an essential logistical link between what was effectively the zone of operations (Normandy) and theater supply services (in England). Seems most reasonable to me to leave them out however. Would further increase the force ratio in the allied favour if included.

3. LW FLAK (except III FLAK Korps). Not included. Zetterlings argument is that they were overwhelmingly static, and employed along the lines of communication, not intended for ground combat. Which I think is debatable, but on the whole reasonable, and likely not too significant numerically. If we want to nit-pick: However, it seems likely that Zetterlings allied numbers include AA units guarding the beachheads, which would be an equivalent to some of these units. I see three solutions to this: 1. Factor out those AA units, 2. Factor in LW FLAK situated with reasonable proximity to the front line, 3. Include all LW FLAK in France/Benelux and all allied AA in Normandy and Southern England.

4. Units of the Training and Replacement army. Many such were present in France, due to the German decision to perform training in the occupied territories rather than at home. They are however, as the name indicates, training units, not units with an operational role. If they were converted to such, on an emergency or permanent basis, they became part of the field army, and turn up through normal reporting channels. Yo could of course count them, as well as llied training units ituated sufficiently close to Normandy to be theoretically utilised as stopgap units (Which they never were). Better IMO to include them as and when they formed or were converted to combat units, of which there were numerous instances in Normandy. They would also provide replacements. In both forms, they must already be considered included in Zetterlings numbers.

5. OT personnel, auxiliary civilians

No equivalent on the allied side. Additionally, to be reasonably included their general function should be one that supported the operations in Normandy. Even if some may be said to have done that, it seems clear that the their tasks were generally other. Piet mentions civilian personnel assisting in supply and construction tasks in the actual operational area - I find it hard to believe that this was a very significant phenomenon, although I am always ready to be convinced by facts of whom I was unaware. See also next point.

6. Military and civilian administration. There were naturally large numbers of such personnel, tasked with the daily functioning of occupied areas. While they may of course be said to contribute to the operations in Normandy in the most indirect sense, these contributions clearly do not merit inclusion in the force ratios at the time of Cobra. Furthermore, they have no significant allied equivalent. In the summer of 44 there was precious little France for the allies to administer and secure. If we were looking at the numbers at the end of the year, this would be different. They may be assumed to constitute a resident military/civilian infrastructure, on whom the German strategic supply effort depended. But equally, the allied strategic supply effort depended on large numbers of personnel not included in the allied total. Furthermore, this infrastructure were countered by categories of forces not included in the allied total - medium range air forces and the French resistance. Regarding OT/auxiliary personnel: Apart from those who happened to be situated within what became the zone of operations, these would mainly be connected with these structures.

7. Rear area supply services - i.e. above the divisional level.
On the allied side, this includes only those present on the narrow strip of land in Normandy. On the German side, even Darrin would agree that at least some are included - they are after all by Zetterling assumed to constitute 16% of German ground forces in Western Europe. It is of course conceivable that there are theater supply units not included here - the info in the book does not in itself really allow us to discuss this meaningfully. Although I find it difficult to see why any such would not be included in the 880,000 number. It might be prudent to differentiate between supply units and anyone assisting somehow with supplies, such as French and German railroad personnel. Supply units in Normandy is what is being counted on the allied side, and, I think it can be assumed with considerable confidence, on the German side. You might argue that other personnel mattered, but then again, you might argue that so did the crews of allied ships bringing supplies across the channel, not to mention the huge number of people in Southern England involved in loading, moving, guarding and processing them. In this sense, it can actually be argued that the German figures for higher echelon supply and support could be more inclusive than the allied, as the German figure refers to the entire OB West area, whereas the allied includes only elements present on the small strip of land taken in Normandy, which in logistical terms is the equivalent of the zone of operations on the German side.

In conclusion, I think Zetterling has struck a reasonable if far from undebatable balance of inclusion, and that an equitable extension of inclusive criteria seems as likely to produce an even more favourable allied force ratio as the opposite. I am also quite sure that it is possible to point out flaws or omissions in the above, for which i shall only be grateful.

cheers

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Post by Qvist » 06 May 2002 12:53

[quote="Qvist"]" A reply from Rich Anderson basically saying theat there were definatly some differces between the total ger str definitions and the US numbers zetterling uses. "

Well, not many surprises in what rich writes really. The basic point IMO is this:

""Darrin, the German strength that Niklas uses are usually Istsstaerke, although sometimes he references Tagesstaerke or Verpflegungsstaerke, all of which can be very different things. "

True enough as far as the narrative in general is concerned, although this does not much affect the strength ratio issue. This issue turns up at two points - firstly, in the chapter dealing with German strength on 1 June, secondly, in the ratio calculation for Cobra. He may be criticised for not making it clear exactly which term he relies on in the second case - the first, as Rich writes, includes ALL ground troops, with the stated exceptions, under OB West. Note furthermore that these numbers are not discussed as strength, but just used to derive a relative ratio between the manpower emplyed in divisions, GHQ combat units and higher echelon support and supply respectively. IMO, it can be assumed that his number for Cobra relies on Iststärke, because Tagesstärke was a term that was unfortunately rarely utilised in German reports, and it seems very unlikely that sufficient information in this category was present to allow a conclusion on strength on this basis. Actually - the number given, even if likely based on Iststärke, is a modified one that would in practice be closer to Tagesstärke, because he factors in casualties minus replacements - remember that Iststärke includes short-term sick and wounded. He then of course fails to take account for any troops with minor injuries who had by then returned to duty. However, the possible variations here seem quite unlikely to be of magnitude to significantly affect the issue, which is the main point for a sort of comparison which can rarely if ever be made with absolute accuracy.

and this:

"Assigned strength in US parlance is probably close to the german definition of Ist, but there are variations. "

The question then is how significant these variations are. Of the ones he mentioned, this struck me as the most interesting:

"I do not know for sure whether or not Niklas count of Commonwealth strength includes the RAF Tactical Air Forces on the continent, although I suspect it does."

If it does, then this is certainly something that should be taken into account for an accurate force ratio.

Then there is the Verpflegungsstärke-issue, which certainly IS of a magnitude that would be significant in this regard. This brings up the question "what is relevant to include in a force comparison"? I believe three questions are of importance in this respect:

1. Equivalence - i.e. are the same type of elements included on both sides?

2. Relevance - i.e. did this personnel category support the fighting in Normandy in a way that makes it menaingful to include?

3. Impact - i.e. would inclusion significantly affect strength ratios, and in which direction?

note: Zetterling makes it clear that his allied numbers refer to troops BROUGHT TO THE CONTINENT. Unless we want to assume that he is telling a barefaced lie or has fatally misunderstood his sources, this must underlay the discussion.

Another key point IMO is this: For the Germans, the zone of operations were the the front and immediate hinterland in Normandy. Beyond this, there were the whole of occupied France and Benelux, also containing large numbers of different personnel with various tasks. The allies at this time controlled so little territory on the continent that there is no hinterland to speak of on the continent, and in practice, a large part of the organisation supporting the combat efforts in Normandy was still based in England. Thus, the more inclusive the definitions of strength and the more you include personnel types more faintly connected with the efforts in the operational zone, the less relevant the number of allied soldiers on the continent becomes - the kind of services you find in Eastern and Central France for the Germans, you find in England for the allies.

To go through some of the categories:

1. Air Force air- and ground crew. Not included in German strength. If Rich's suspicion is right, possibly partially included in allied strength. If this is so, it would improve accuracy to take these out of the allied total. Considering that only a relatively small portion of allied air forces were operating from France at this time, it is unlikely to be of great significance. If the LW organisation would be included, we would also need to include the allied air forces supporting the fighting in France but based in England, which would in all likelihood significantly increase the force ratio in the allied favour.

2. Navy personnel. Not assumed included on either side AFAICS. You could make a stronger argument for including it on the allied side than the German, as Naval forces were providing direct fire support to ground troops and naval forces constituted an essential logistical link between what was effectively the zone of operations (Normandy) and theater supply services (in England). Seems most reasonable to me to leave them out however. Would further increase the force ratio in the allied favour if included.

3. LW FLAK (except III FLAK Korps). Not included. Zetterlings argument is that they were overwhelmingly static, and employed along the lines of communication, not intended for ground combat. Which I think is debatable, but on the whole reasonable, and likely not too significant numerically. If we want to nit-pick: However, it seems likely that Zetterlings allied numbers include AA units guarding the beachheads, which would be an equivalent to some of these units. I see three solutions to this: 1. Factor out those AA units, 2. Factor in LW FLAK situated with reasonable proximity to the front line, 3. Include all LW FLAK in France/Benelux and all allied AA in Normandy and Southern England.

4. Units of the Training and Replacement army. Many such were present in France, due to the German decision to perform training in the occupied territories rather than at home. They are however, as the name indicates, training units, not units with an operational role. If they were converted to such, on an emergency or permanent basis, they became part of the field army, and turn up through normal reporting channels. Yo could of course count them, as well as llied training units ituated sufficiently close to Normandy to be theoretically utilised as stopgap units (Which they never were). Better IMO to include them as and when they formed or were converted to combat units, of which there were numerous instances in Normandy. They would also provide replacements. In both forms, they must already be considered included in Zetterlings numbers.

5. OT personnel, auxiliary civilians

No equivalent on the allied side. Additionally, to be reasonably included their general function should be one that supported the operations in Normandy. Even if some may be said to have done that, it seems clear that the their tasks were generally other. Piet mentions civilian personnel assisting in supply and construction tasks in the actual operational area - I find it hard to believe that this was a very significant phenomenon, although I am always ready to be convinced by facts of whom I was unaware. See also next point.

6. Military and civilian administration. There were naturally large numbers of such personnel, tasked with the daily functioning of occupied areas. While they may of course be said to contribute to the operations in Normandy in the most indirect sense, these contributions clearly do not merit inclusion in the force ratios at the time of Cobra. Furthermore, they have no significant allied equivalent. In the summer of 44 there was precious little France for the allies to administer and secure. If we were looking at the numbers at the end of the year, this would be different. They may be assumed to constitute a resident military/civilian infrastructure, on whom the German strategic supply effort depended. But equally, the allied strategic supply effort depended on large numbers of personnel not included in the allied total. Furthermore, this infrastructure were countered by categories of forces not included in the allied total - medium range air forces and the French resistance. Regarding OT/auxiliary personnel: Apart from those who happened to be situated within what became the zone of operations, these would mainly be connected with these structures.

7. Rear area supply services - i.e. above the divisional level.
On the allied side, this includes only those present on the narrow strip of land in Normandy. On the German side, even Darrin would agree that at least some are included - they are after all by Zetterling assumed to constitute 16% of German ground forces in Western Europe. It is of course conceivable that there are theater supply units not included here - the info in the book does not in itself really allow us to discuss this meaningfully. Although I find it difficult to see why any such would not be included in the 880,000 number. It might be prudent to differentiate between supply units and anyone assisting somehow with supplies, such as French and German railroad personnel. Supply units in Normandy is what is being counted on the allied side, and, I think it can be assumed with considerable confidence, on the German side (or rather, an amount of those present in the OB west area, not just Normandy, proportionate to the present divisional/combat unit strength). You might argue that other personnel mattered, but then again, you might argue that so did the crews of allied ships bringing supplies across the channel, not to mention the huge number of people in Southern England involved in loading, moving, guarding and processing them. In this sense, it can actually be argued that the German figures for higher echelon supply and support could be more inclusive than the allied, as the German figure refers to the entire OB West area, whereas the allied includes only elements present on the small strip of land taken in Normandy, which in logistical terms is the equivalent of the zone of operations on the German side.

In conclusion, I think Zetterling has struck a reasonable if far from undebatable balance of inclusion, and that an equitable extension of inclusive criteria seems as likely to produce an even more favourable allied force ratio as the opposite. I am also quite sure that it is possible to point out flaws or omissions in the above, for which i shall only be grateful.

cheers[/quote]

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Post by Darrin » 06 May 2002 13:29

To post what Rich actually said on the other forumn.

---

Darrin, the German strength that Niklas uses are usually Istsstaerke, although sometimes he references Tagesstaerke or Verpflegungsstaerke, all of which can be very different things. Usually these strengths refer only to Heer and Waffen-SS ground forces personnel, and does not always include the personnel of the Fallschirmjaeger Armee, Luftwaffe aircrew and groundcrew, Luftwaffe Flak personnel not assigned to direct support of Heer formations, Marine (an important source of numbers if not actual combat strength), Ersatz and Reserve-Armee formations (although most of those were activated prior to D-Day and so were later included in strength reports), the various paramilitary organizations performing support functions in France (Organization Todt and RAD for instance), and the service and support formations in rear and base areas in the French interior or in Germany.

IIRC Ruppenthal's count of US forces in Europe is taken from the total assigned strength of USFET (US Forces European Theater) of from ETOUSA (European Theater of Operations, US Army). That count includes all personnel assigned to the US Army forces assigned to the European Theater, that is, all US personnel in the 12th and 6th Army Groups, all personnel of the USAAF on the continent (9th TAF), all Services of Supply personnel in the COM-Z, as well as all US personnel assigned or attached to the British 21st Army Group. Assigned strength in US parlance is probably close to the german definition of Ist, but there are variations. US Present-for-Duty (PDF) is probably closest to the German Tagesstaerke, there is no direct US corrollary to Verpflegungsstaerke, it would be counted as the total assigned strength of all units in a particullar command.

Commonwealth strength reports are similar to those of the US. The British forces in Europe (21st Army Group) reported total strengths daily by Army and Line-of-Communications (LoC) troops, as well as by nationality to the General Staff with copies to SHAEF. However, after July reports of total strength became irregular and were replaced by strength reports given as average strength of infantry and armoured battalions by division, since that was the critical metric as far as the British were concerned. I do not know for sure whether or not Niklas count of Commonwealth strength includes the RAF Tactical Air Forces on the continent, although I suspect it does.

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Quivst

I am not reading most of what you write in great detail because I am tired of reading the same info again and agin. You can't even get what rich said right. I will just agree to disagree with most of what you say. AT NO POINT DID RICH SAY ALL GROUND TROOPS just for one point. He says ONLY herr and SS then give a HUGE list of EXCEPTIONS. Not to mention that organztions such as RAD were not part of the whermact numbers in any way matter or form.

Darrin

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Post by Qvist » 06 May 2002 13:57

" I am not reading most of what you write in great detail because I am tired of reading the same info again and agin. "

And of not being able to address it with either cogency nor accuracy.

"I will just agree to disagree with most of what you say."

and which you have not read.

"You can't even get what rich said right. ...AT NO POINT DID RICH SAY ALL GROUND TROOPS just for one point. "

He wrote, in a paragraph you somehow forgot to paste: " One is the total strength of German ground forces (including Waffen-SS and Luftwaffe ground troops) as of 1 June 1944, which is 880,000 men. "

If it makes you happy I'll call it "ground forces" rather than "ground troops". I assume we agree that "total strength" is equivalent to "all".

"He says ONLY herr and SS then give a HUGE list of EXCEPTIONS. Not to mention that organztions such as RAD were not part of the whermact numbers in any way matter or form. "

And the point in the above which you omit to read is how relevant are these are for inclusion in a strength ratio for a given operation.

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Post by Darrin » 06 May 2002 14:54

Another example of str ratio problems. Isistarke or actual str is supposed to include all wia expected to retrun within 8 weeks. Yet zetterling in his compasion of str at the start of cobra subtracts all losses from the ger istarke which is more like ger daily str at that point. Yet he still compares his even lower ger numbers with total allied manpower on the contenint. Without considering how much of the allied forces are not equvalent again I will just state that his allied numbers do not take into account losses the allies suffered. It is no wonder he comes up with a 4-1 adv in manpower of allied over ger at this point.

Darrin

PS Qvist toning down our discussion would be a great.

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Post by Qvist » 06 May 2002 15:10

"Without considering how much of the allied forces are not equvalent again I will just state that his allied numbers do not take into account losses the allies suffered. "

That struck me as well as a possible problem. However - what is really under consideration is subtraction of casualties PLUS addition of replacements, so the question is the extent to which allied formations could replace their casualties. My implicit assumption when reading Zetterling was that an equivalent calculation for the allied side was not neccessary because the allied armies generally possessed the means to replace casualties almost immediately and in full, both in men and equipment. This is fairly widely commented upon in several accounts, but I really have no way of gauging how completely accurate that assumption might be.

And all of this is assuming that not BOTH replacements and and the casualties they replaced are included in his allied totals.

so, from a general readers perspective, this is a bit of a tricky one.

And glad we agree to tone down the discussion a little.

cheers

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Post by Darrin » 06 May 2002 18:24

Its interesting that when zetterling compares ger army str with sov army str at kursk in his Kursk book it is ration str he uses. Proves absolultly nothing but interesting. Maybe it is due more to a lack of info about soviet str defininitions than anything else. He does I believe use Isistarke for his ger div slices on the eastern front in 43 though. 20,000 man ger div slices in mid 43 in the east. 15,000 man ger div slices in mid 44 in france.

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